EPA Awards $1.5M to Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe for Recycling Initiatives

AKWESASNE, NY – The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) announced that the Environment Division’s Solid Waste Program has been awarded the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant (SWIR) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the amount of $1.5 million. Under the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for waste management and recycling program, this funding will be utilized to expand the tribe’s recycling capabilities and alternative energy sources. The grant funds will complement $2.5 million ongoing capital investments that are expanding and developing the material handling infrastructure at the Solid Waste Transfer Station.

According to the EPA website, “The SWIFR grants for tribes and Intertribal Consortia will enable Indian Nations to make improvements to their recycling and waste management systems, meeting Congress’ goal to create a stronger, more resilient, and cost-effective U.S. municipal solid waste recycling system.” They selected the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and Seneca Nation to receive $1.9 million in grant funding through their program. “These grants reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackling environmental justice and the climate crisis. Many communities with environmental justice concerns carry a disproportionate environmental and human health burden from waste management.”

The grant will additionally fund operational efficiency, worker safety, patron safety and work towards the reduction of greenhouse gasses related to climate change. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Environment Division is committed to working towards building a better, sustainable tomorrow for Akwesasne and the surrounding communities.

“I’m excited about the award and how it will complement ongoing upgrades to the tribe’s solid waste management system,” said Environment Division’s Assistant Director Leslie Benedict. “The award adds a third phase to the Transfer Station upgrades and provides badly needed space for processing recycled materials, such as cardboard and used oil, and will introduce food waste management to the suite of services available to the community. This award enables us to give community members sustainable options for recycling a wider range of materials.”

SRMT’s Environment Division plans to utilize the fund for multiple activities, such as the engineering and construction of an energy efficient cardboard processing facility and a food waste composting facility, purchasing of electric vehicles and handling equipment, and upgrading the electrical system by replacing a diesel generator electrical supply with three-phase electrical grid connection. 

The development of the proposal involved support and collaboration between the Environment Division, Grants & Contracts, Finance, Land Resources, Planning and Infrastructure, and environmental partners Adk Action, Food Cycle Science, Northeast Recycling Council, The County of Franklin Solid Waste Authority, and the Adirondack North Country Association.